It’s been almost a month since the Spring semester ended and now, almost four weeks later, is that my anxiety of feeling like I have a paper due at midnight has subsided!
You probably think that I’m going to say coffee and late nights got me through it, well I’m not.
Well yeah, I did have many late nights, but coffee? No. Grace of God and support from my family? DEFINITELY.
Before I found out I was pregnant I decided to go back to school to finish my undergrad degree that I started right after I got out of high school.
I never wanted to stop going to school in the first place, but because we live in a country that claims that $60,000 a year is sufficient for a single mother to pay bills, put food on the table and get her daughter through college, I had no other choice but to stop my academics and work full-time.
Finding out that we were having a baby threw me off a bit and I was very concerned as to whether or not I should pursue what I had already decided I wanted to do, go to school full time. My husband and I spoke about it frequently throughout my pregnancy and when I mentioned it to others, I got mixed feedback.
“Go for it, you won’t be the only person who has done it”
“That seems like too much to handle for a new mom”
“I believe in you”
“Don’t sign up for more than you can handle”
I was overwhelmed by the different opinions, and I was overwhelmed that the plans I had made for my life were not going as I expected them to go. I should not have been surprised though when do things we plan out for our lives ever pan out as we expect them to anyway?
I made my decision to take on the challenge.
After almost a four year break from school, I started my first semester back in college in September of 2017. I went through a whole four weeks of waddling around campus with my baby belly, and then on the first week of October, I gave birth to my Lucas.
I took about 3 weeks off from school where I stayed home with the baby and recovered, then I went back at it.
My schedule really wasn’t that bad, I had one night class on Mondays, one night class on Tuesdays, two daytime classes on Wednesdays, and an online class.
All of my professors were pretty nice and understanding, except one who seemed a bit insensitive. I didn’t do too well in his class but hey, you can’t please everybody.
I had one particular professor who was so helpful and kind, she allowed me to bring the baby to class on the days that I didn’t have a sitter! That was my favorite class to be in that semester. The professor loved to teach and she had such a pure heart which really reinforced my love for learning and going to school.
Being a wife, mother, and student is hard.
Being a college student is exhausting. Being a mother is exhausting. But being both at the same time, now that’s a level of exhaustion that you will never know unless you experience it.
My days and nights consisted of trying to keep a well-balanced diet, breast feeding every 2-3 hours, pumping, changing diapers, reading, writing, all while trying my best not neglect my duty of being a wife to my husband. It was very hard and sometimes I felt like I failed at being a wife, but I am grateful that my husband was understanding and supportive during this time and we got by that rough patch.
One very important key to my success in getting through my first semester of college as a first-time mom was having an amazing support system. On the days that I had class my husband, my sister in law and other family members always made themselves available to watch my little one while I was out.
Though I was very nervous about being away from my baby, I was always at peace knowing that my child was in the hands of people I trusted and people who loved him, I can’t thank God enough for them. To my family reading this, thank you, I am grateful for you.
My second semester in school was a bit different.
Though I still had the same amazing support system, this time around we all faced a new challenge-the beginning stages of separation anxiety.
At this point, my little one developed an attachment to me and there were nights that he would give my husband or whoever else would watch him, a very hard time! I implemented a security blanket to help with the anxiety but honestly, there were nights that he just wasn’t having it. I don’t know how we got through that rough patch, but we did.
By this time I had already established a schedule for my baby. He would wake up, play, eat and sleep the whole day. By 7-7: 30 pm he was ready for bed, not including the nights that I had class and he would have a fit with whoever was with him. Having a schedule helped Lucas feel comfortable and be at ease since he knew what to expect throughout the day. It also helped me get things done while he napped!
Well, I must have done something right because I finished the semester off with 3 A’s and 2 B’s! I share this with you to show you that IT’S POSSIBLE. It’s hard, it’s a challenge, but it’s do-able.
So, here we are, enjoying my summer break before the fall semester starts in September again.
I am working on getting out as much as possible, exposing the baby to different faces and different things, in hopes that by the time September comes, he won’t be as anxious as he was last semester when I’m not around!
I am still learning as I go but here are some things tips for mamas who have babies or are having babies and are considering going back to school.
Tips For Moms Going Back to School
- If you are pregnant and starting school, have open communication with your professors.
(Tell them your expected due date and let them know your plans for after delivery. If any professor gives you a hard time, know your rights!)
- Pick caregivers who you are comfortable with.
(This is so important because it allows you to be at peace knowing that your child is in good hands while you are away.)
- Be clear about your baby’s likes, dislikes, and routine with whoever is caring for your child.
(No one knows your baby more than you. Give the caregiver ALL details that are important for them to know about the baby while you are out.)
- Make sure to always leave enough milk/food for your baby while you are away.
(Since I was breastfeeding, I was always afraid of my baby running out of milk while I was out. Be prepared!)
- Try incorporating a safety blanket.
(The purpose of the blanket or whatever item you use is to bring a sense of comfort to your little one. Sleep with it for a day or two so that it can also pick up your scent.)
- Plan ahead and balance out your time.
(Use nap times throughout the day to get little tasks done. Make to-do lists.)
- Do not wait until the last minute to get projects done!
(Learn from me-Those would be the nights that your child decides he doesn’t want to sleep and cry all night-It’s happened to me plenty of times.)
If you’re a mom in school or a mom going back to school, I applaud you.
It takes a determined mind to know that it will be a challenge, but understand that with God, nothing is impossible!